German tragedy of destiny





* Elberfeld is a quarter of Wuppertal

The city in the hilly region Berisches Land situated in the narrow valley of the Wupper River was a big test site for the Royal Air Force to try its incendiary bombs.


On 30 May 1943 600 bombers dropped 300,000 incendiary bombs on the city.


Guide to people left homeless after air strike


The narrow streets with their half-timbered hoses burned brightly, a fire barrage ate through the thin valley of the Wupper.


Residents who could not get to safety in time and fell into the hell-fire heat burned to the extent that adult people shrank to half a meter.


  3,400 dead


The charred remains of bodies, in lack of other containers, were collected in zinc bath tubes, washing and canning pots. It took weeks to recover the 3,400 dead or their remains from below the ruins.


The city was destroyed to 80 percent.


A similar fate met just three months later the neighboring town of Remscheid in the region Bergisches Land. There were 11,000 houses out of 14,000 burned with fire bombs.



The pride of Wuppertal, the suspension railroad, was not spared either